Paul Raci, a journeyman actor who got his start in Chicago theater, won an Academy Award nomination on Monday for his breakout role in “Sound of Metal.”
The local native, who grew up in the 2300 block of West Potomac Avenue in Humboldt Park, is a best supporting actor nominee for his performance as Joe, the owner of a substance abuse treatment facility for the deaf.
Joe advises a punk-metal drummer, played by Riz Ahmed, who abruptly loses his hearing while on tour. Ahmed is a best actor nominee, and the film is nominated for best picture.
At the April 25 Oscars, Raci will be up against the two stars of “Judas and the Black Messiah”, Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield, as well as Leslie Odom Jr. of “One Night in Miami” and Sacha Baron Cohen of “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”
Another former Chicagoan in the running is Steven Yeun, nominated in the best actor category for his work as a would-be farmer who transplants his family to Arkansas in “Minari.” The South Korean native, best known for “The Walking Dead,” used to perform improv in Chicago with Stir-Friday Night and The Second City.
For Raci, the nomination follows decades of unsung character work for Raci, 72.
Making “Sound of Metal,” he told the Sun-Times last month, was “the opportunity of a lifetime — it was great. I loved the writing. I love the character. Having deaf parents shaped my whole life because back in the day there was no technology that could help them.”